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The remains of the gnawed bell ropes at St Erth Parish Church. See SWNS story SWCHURCH: Church bell-ringers could be silent at Christmas for the first time in centuries after their ropes were eaten – by SQUIRRELS. St Erth Parish Church has held a festive service since the 1500s but this year it will be silent – because of rodents in the belfry. Church bell-ringers discovered its long pulling ropes lying on the floor – after the tops were chewed through by squirrels. Verger Peter Pascoe, 71, is concerned that the church will not be able to perform the annual tradition.

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